Despite Indonesia’s apparent ambivalence toward an open skies policy among the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), Garuda Indonesia continues to prepare for its home country’s full participation in the accord when it takes effect in January 2015. Most recently, on November 25, the Indonesian flag carrier introduced a new sub-brand called “Explore” ahead of a December 3 launch into service of its first ATR 72-600.
Three of the four shareholders of the defunct Spirit of Manila Airlines (SMA) plan to relaunch and rebrand the Filipino carrier next year. According to Aldo Lance Lopez, an original stakeholder in SMA who expects to hold a 20-percent stake in the new low-cost carrier (LCC), the existing investors hope to add a foreign partner.
This marks the second attempt to relaunch the carrier. The first effort, launched last year, fizzled when a potential foreign investor pulled out after negotiations ended in a stalemate.
Virgin Australia said it has reached an agreement in principle to buy a 100-percent stake in Perth, Australia-based Skywest Airlines. Announced on October 30 and still subject to approvals from regulatory authorities and Skywest shareholders, the deal would see the Western Australian regional assume the Virgin Australia brand and, according to Virgin Australia CEO John Borghetti, benefit from further investment by the would-be parent company.
Tough economic times are resulting in innovations by carriers in the Asia Pacific region looking beyond traditional business models through strategic realignments and new product offerings. Recent ground-breaking deals include Virgin Australia selling a 10-percent stake to Singapore Airlines (SIA) and buying 60 percent of Tiger Airways; the new partnership between Emirates Airline and Qantas; and Etihad Airways purchasing a 10-percent stake in Virgin Australia.
International Aero Engines (IAE) will continue to build V2500 turbofans well beyond the middle of the next decade and production rates will continue to climb, according to president and CEO Ian Aitken.
Low-cost carrier Tiger Airways Australia has accepted that it could stay grounded throughout July as Australian safety inspectors continue to probe its operations. The grounding, which is costing the Singapore-based airline $1.6 million a week, claimed its first casualty with the announced departure of CEO Crawford Rix.
Jetstar Airways has ordered V2500 turbofans from International Aero Engines for up to 90 Airbus A320s. The deal, signed here in Singapore last Thursday and worth up to $3.5 billion, also covers the cost of retrofitting V2500s on its 40 A320s to the latest SelectOne version of the engine as well as power-by-the hour maintenance coverage.
Asia accounts for 25 percent of the world’s air traffic, a figure expected to grow to more than 30 percent in three years, largely thanks to the proliferation of low-cost carriers. With cheap fares, easy online bookings and direct connections to previously sleepy backwaters, budget carriers are bringing air travel to the masses in this part of the world.
Germany’s Blue Wings has selected IAE International’s V2500 engine for 20 Airbus A320s on order. The deal was valued at $350 million.